PRESIDENTIAL Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday, November 8, hit back at detained Senator Leila de Lima after she branded him as "propaganda artist" and "political manipulator."
Roque, who assumed his post on November 6, played down De Lima's remark and instead urged the senator to focus on defending her name over her supposed drug links rather than be engaged in "partisan politics."
"We hope Senator Leila de Lima would just focus her time, energy and resources on her defense and in clearing her name before the court of law instead of engaging in partisan politics," Roque said.
"After all, she is facing an uphill battle," he added.
"We do not wish to dignify the rants of someone accused of a heinous crime involving drug trafficking," Roque said in a statement.
In a statement released earlier Friday titled "Harry Roque, the Truth Bender for Hire," De Lima slammed the newly-appointed spokesperson after she had been "fooled" into thinking that he was once sincere in wishing her well.
"But he betrays his own credibility and sincerity because of his prior and contemporary acts and statements," De Lima said.
"He tells me that he wishes me well, yet, he was at the forefront of slut-shaming spectacle and despicable treatment I received at the hands of members of the House of Representatives last year," she added.
She was ordered arrested in February after she was accused of being involved in the rampant narcotics trade inside the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City during her stint at the Department of Justice.
READ: De Lima arrested over drug charges
De Lima is currently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center inside Camp Crame, Quezon City. (SunStar Philippines)